Intimate Partner Violence: Your Legal Rights

Survivors of intimate partner violence have several avenues for redress, if they choose. The following provides a brief explanation of these options. You may also find helpful this information regarding the roles of persons in the criminal justice system, some of whom are referred to below.

Criminal prosecution:

This involves making a report to the police or to the local magistrate in which the abuse took place. Criminal prosecution might result in imprisonment of the abuser, or perhaps mandatory attendance in a batterers' intervention program. It could also result in probation, depending on the circumstances and the judge who hears the case. Generally speaking, most abusive individuals will only attend batterers' intervention groups if the court forces them.

Civil Suit:

A civil suit is an action brought by a private attorney against the abuser and may be an option for collecting damages and recovering costs relating to moving, therapy, and so on, if the batterer has any financial resources at all. One doesn't have to sue for money, however. It is possible to sue to force the abuser to get therapy, to return certain items, and so on.